Friday, 27 January 2012

The Ghost Train

I completely missed out on the "Funny Bones" books as a kid but I'm reliably informed by my lovely wife CanIWalkMummy that they're children's classics.

Allan Ahlberg is pretty much a legend in children's books (both as illustrator and author) and Andre Amstutz's haphazard, chaotic but wonderfully comic illustrations are great fodder for young minds who don't mind "spooky" as long as it's not too scary.

The Ghost Train tells the story of a polite pair of skeletons (and their skeleton dog) who decide to take a trip to the Ghostly Seaside. Along the way they meet various spooky folk, enjoy the sights and sounds of the spooky seashore and generally have a high old time.

As with all the best children's books, it's not so much what goes on in the foreground that matters as what's happening around the central characters and the storyline. Amstutz delights in adding in strange little shadowy figures and spooky creatures in the background and these are always great to spot for youngsters.

There's a huge range of "Funny Bones" books available and I'm quite surprised we've never seen them before at our local library. We'll definitely be keeping our eyes peeled for more.

Charlotte's best bit: The spooky monster baby

Daddy's favourite bit: Amstutz's effective use of shadowy forms to suggest menacing figures waiting in the wings

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars